CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jayden Gardner scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-19 shooting and added seven rebounds to lead Virginia (16-9, 10-5 ACC) to its fourth consecutive victory in a 63-53 decision over Georgia Tech (10-14, 3-10 ACC) at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday afternoon.
Kihei Clark scored 12 of his 15 total points in the second half to help the Cavaliers fend off Georgia Tech’s second-half comeback effort.
The Cavaliers never trailed in Saturday’s contest and led for over 36 minutes of game time.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia orchestrated a 12-0 run early in the game to grasp an 18-4 lead with 11:19 remaining in the first half. The combination of Gardner’s scoring and the Cavaliers’ defense contributed to UVA leading by as many as 17 points (30-13) at the 1:48 mark. Gardner, who started the game 4-for-4 from the field, led all scorers at halftime with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and made all three of his free throw attempts. Georgia Tech compiled 10 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play, which resulted in 15 UVA points.
Georgia Tech scored the first seven points of the second half to cut its deficit to 32-26. A 9-3 run by the Yellow Jackets shrank the UVA lead to 49-47 with 5:44 remaining, but back-to-back baskets by Gardner halted Georgia Tech’s momentum. Virginia out-scored the Yellow Jackets 14-6 in the final 5:19 of play. Clark, who has come up big late in games for the Cavilers this season, connected on his third 3-pointer of the game with 2:34 to play to help seal the win for the Hoos.
THE GAME BALL GOES TO:
Jayden Gardner. With 26 points, Gardner recorded his team-leading fifth 20-point performance on the season. Gardner’s scoring effort against the Yellow Jackets also marked the 38th 20-point performance of his career. Gardner has now scored in double digits in eight straight games, a span in which the Cavaliers have compiled a record of 6-2.
Virginia travels to Virginia Tech (14-10, 6-7 ACC) for a Smithfield Commonwealth Clash on Monday (Feb. 14). Tipoff at Cassell Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN.